Bataan Memorial Ceremony, April 9, 2014, Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Battling Bastards of Bataan

 No Mama – No Papa – No Uncle Sam

Seventy-two years ago on April 9, 1942, General Wainwright surrendered his forces to the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula (Philippines) and thus began the Bataan Death March.

General Wainwright had no choice but to surrender. His troops were starving, out of ammunition, and had exhausted their medical supplies. For just over three months, the U.S. forces had fought valiantly against wave after wave of Japanese attacks. But, in the wake of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy did not have the resources to rescue, relieve, or supply the beleaguered soldiers. They were cut-off and alone. It is the only time the U.S. Army has ever surrendered. On September 2, 1945, General Wainwright stood with General MacArthur at the Japanese surrender ceremony on the decks of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

The brave soldiers that survived the death march spent the entire war in Japanese prison camps. Because a high percentage of these troops were New Mexicans is the reason why this annual memorial ceremony is so important in the state.  At the ceremony there were three Bataan survivors; Ralph Rodriguez (97 years), Bill Overmier (94 years) and Rosenaldo Lavato (94 years). There were eight survivors at last year’s ceremony.

L1065121 (Left) Ralph Rodriguez and (Right) Bill Overmier

L1065184Rosenaldo Lavato receiving his long over due medals from General Andrew Salas.

L1065179 The white flag was raised with honor and respect.

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About Jeff Lowdermilk

I have traveled to Europe several times over the last few years to follow my grandfather's path as detailed in his World War I diary. My grandfather was an American Infantryman who survived the war. This has been an adventurous journey of self-exploration. The friends I have made along the way and experiences gained have greatly enriched my life

7 thoughts on “Bataan Memorial Ceremony, April 9, 2014, Santa Fe, New Mexico

  1. Quiles

    Jeff thank you for this “”méconnue”” information.
    A soon.

  2. Quiles

    As said Jack, thank you thank you thank you.
    A thank you for each entry Vétérans.

  3. Quiles

    As said Jack, thank you thank you thank you.
    A thank you for each entry Veterans

  4. doug gordon

    Jeff, so heartbreaking a story but so glad i got to see and learn about these remarkable survivors of the death march. did not know about the New Mexico connection thanks for sharing this post. see you soon, Doug

  5. Charlie

    We had some friends from Fort Leavenworth that came down and did the march in honor of those valiant Soldiers. I was unable to participate this time but have it on mine to do for next year. They were part of the cadet guards. You capturing this, once again, demonstrates your commitment to honoring our heroes. Thank you.

  6. kay shaffer

    Thank you for sharing these bits! We as Americans need to be reminded of all the blessings these special men and women sacrifice to give us. It should taught every single day in schools. remembered in Churches, and never should a public gathering fail to acknowledge and honor our military!We and our offspring need to be ever mindful that what we have is at the expense of many1

  7. Eric Z

    Once again, Jeff, you have captured a memorable moment with great reverence, respect and regard for honorees and attendees alike. Well done.

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